Tag Archives: whiskey

Bluegrass Barrels: Awesome Gift Idea

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So I am not sure how many women out there read this website, but I figured I would give you women a great valentines day gift idea. Granted, there is absolutely no chance of it shipping in time for Saturday – but really cool to give even if it’s a few weeks late.

A while back my fiancé got me a Barrel from Bluegrass Barrels. I actually mentioned/featured the barrel in my article on Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, back a few months ago.  This is a great way to keep and age spirits, such as whiskey, bourbon, scotch, tequila…etc. The barrels are handmade in Kentucky, with American White Oak with a medium char on the inside. They have three sizes to choose from between 1 – 3 liters, with a choice between the metal used for the hops that hold the barrel together.

To personalize the barrel, you can put up to two lines of text with a maximum of 10 letters per line. Additionally, these barrels can feature your favorite NCAA logos.

Goto  their site, and order one.

Club A Steakhouse: Fantasy Football Dinner

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The other week we held our annual office fantasy football dinner, where the bottom half of the pool picks up the tab. We have a weekly pick em league, with over 30 guys, so it’s safe to say you want to be on the top of the table. The bill per loser can really rack up, especially when some people go for the jugular, i.e. Porterhouse for 2 for 1, or bottles of Opus One. For me, win or lose, I do it for the networking and face time.

The past few years the dinner has been held at Smith & Wollensky, but this year my boss decided to change it up. He has his assistant look into private rooms at Del Frisco’s, Quality Meats, Maloney & Porcelli, Keens… I think even at one point the idea of STK Midtown was thrown around. However, due to the dinner being scheduled around some pretty important people and the size of the group, none of the above were able to accommodate us. That’s when we came across Club A Steakhouse, which was close to the office and has a private dinning room on the second floor that we would be able to fit the group.

Earlier that morning, in true sore winner fashion, my boss sent out an email to all the winners/losers advising on how to maximize tonight’s eating potential by not filling up for breakfast and/or lunch. I definitely took note, and ordered a light lunch from Certe around 11:00, so I would be starving.

We all walked down 58th Street and saw the trees outside Club A wrapped in lights, which made me realize I passed this place the other day going back to my apartment from Home Depot. We walked in, and quickly realized this place loves the color red. There was red ceilings, red walls, red seat cushions… Also, they had a ton of velvet. They had enough velvet to make velour suits for the whole borough of Staten Island. With the decor of red, gold, and velvet, I felt like I was in Tony “Scarface” Montana’s Miami Mansion – I was waiting to see a globe with the words ‘The World is Mine’ on it. So we walked up the stairs into the ‘Living Room’ section – which could seat up to 45 people. As you could have guessed, more red and velvet, and a fireplace which was nice.

The feast was about to begin and I was starving. I ordered a Chimay as we waiting to order. Haven’t had a good Trappist beer in a while, and wanted to see what the good old Belgian monks have been brewing. As soon as the waiter took our order we saw the first rush of appetizers come to the table, thick cut bacon and seafood towers. The bacon was unbelievable, cut about 1/4 of an inch thick, and was getting some great reviews from the table. It was tender, juicy, and had a nice charred outside. From every angle I was able to see people cutting the bacon and stuffing it into their mouths. The steak sauce they provided went well with the smokiness of the meat. Since going to to Club A, I have been contemplating stoping their for lunch just to get some swine – and at $5/slice it’s extremely tempting. Onto the seafood towers, which were massive. I honestly do not remember how many of these we ordered but all that remained was crushed ice and the discarded inedible carcasses of the shellfish. The platters included U7 Shrimp (which means 7 shrimp per pound so they were huge), Lobster, King Crab Meat, and Colossal Crab Meat. Seafood was all extremely fresh and before I knew it I was ducking out of the way of pieces of shells flying from fellow employees cracking open massive lobster claws.

Once the shared appetizers were cleared from the table, we received our personal appetizers. I went with the Tuna Tartare since the waiter talked it up so much, and it didn’t disappoint. The portion was massive, which was worrying me as I had a huge steak coming soon. Then I realized I am a bottomless pit, and ate the heaping mountain of raw tuna. We had a nice pause so we can all digest, and continue drinking before the main courses came. I drank another Chimay, followed by some Red Wine since the waiters kept refilling my glass – I mean, why not, I did come in the top 15 of the pool, and I was not chipping in for the bill.

Prior to the main courses, a slew of waiters came into the private room like something out of a movie. They were dropping down on the table the family style sides, which included 5 Cheese Truffle Mac, Onion Rings, Creamed Spinach, Jumbo Asparagus, Mash Potatoes, Garlic Herb Fries, and Hash Browns. Then came out the meat, I ordered Prime Dry Aged Porterhouse Steak for 3, to split with someone. The steak was good, however was a little over cooked – more towards medium, which was a little disappointing. This is something I could expect at a regular restaurant – but not somewhere with ‘Steakhouse’ in the name. I didn’t let this ruin the experience as the steak was still pretty good. I would say I ate my fair share of the Porterhouse, would even go as far to say I ate around 65% of it. The sides were all great, the best were definitely the hash browns and onion rings – definitely recommend ordering them.

After dinner we finished with some dessert and a Lagavulin 16, was going to order the Laphroaig 10, but as mentioned earlier I wasn’t paying…

Brinkley’s: Chicken Pot Pie Awesomeness

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I have been going to Brinkley’s for close to 5 years now. I even moved as close as possible to it, on the same block and a mere 0.1 miles from it. Not only do I love their beer selections, but they have great food as well.

I have had everything from their duck fat fries, to black garlic humus, to the lobster club. I even would say they have one of the best burgers in the neighborhood, along with Randolph’s. Over the thousands of hours drinking local beers, slurring words, and dropping beer on their black and white checkered floor – I never noticed they have a Chicken Pot Pie on the menu.

The Chicken Pot Pie is a special, and only served on Monday – which may cause issues with my current drinking schedule being that Monday is my off day/recovery day.

The CPP is done with Puff Pastry, Poached Chicken & Seasonal Veggies in Béchamel. When it gets to the table, it is still in the hot cast iron skillet and the size of my head. About 10 inches in diameter, I could have used this thing to play Kan Jam. Instead, I poked my fork through the puff pastry into the gooey filling and burnt the fuck out of my mouth. I have been alive for twenty-eight years, and I still have not learned to let things cool down before eating. Although I singed off a good portion of my taste buds, I was able to tell this CPP had some awesome flavors. The mix of the peas and carrots with the butteriness of the roux blended together perfectly. The pie also had generous chunks of chicken, you can tell it was chopped off the breasts of the Kate Upton of chickens. With the meal I decided to drink some Empire Amber Ale, which made a great pairing. The biscuity and caramel sweetness, mixed with the piney/hoppy bitterness on the backend.

Get over your case of the Mondays (next Monday), take the 6 Train down to Spring Street, and get some Chicken Pot Pie. Also, wash it down with an Empire Amber Ale.

Bartending Tips: Oak Barrel Aged Manhattan

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We can’t all make a fancy old fashion like the one in my article on FortyFour at The Royalton Hotel. But, if you want to impress some of your friends look into the below.

A few month’s back I got my buddy a Whiskey Barrel from Bluegrass Barrels for Christmas. He is a bartender at one of my favorite bars, Brinkley’s in Soho, and he sent me over the other the concoction he is making in his 2 litter barrel. He is letting it age for 4-6 weeks, and then bottling them up. Order a barrel, give it a shot and let me know what you think.

619 ml Bulleit Whiskey

619 ml Hennesy

619 ml Dolin Sweet Vermouth

139.75 ml Benedictine

25 Dashes of Peychaud Bitters

25 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Forty Four @ The Royalton Hotel: Best Old Fashion Ever

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Back around the holiday’s we were invited by LARGE BANK to goto their Client Appreciation Night at Forty Four in The Royalton Hotel. The Morgan Hotel Group definitely did not skimp on the decor of this hotel lobby, with their 20 Foot Fireplace and sunken lounge areas, this is definitely a nice place to grab a drink after work. This is the second year in a row the LARGE BANK decided to host this event there, and although I found this to lack an originality – I found the hidden gem of Midtown West.

Their Hickory Old Fashion 2.0 keeps me coming back to this venue. This made with Bulleit Bourbon, Black Dirt Applejack, Crown Royal Maple, honey water served over a large block of ice and garnished with the smoke of a cherry wood chip. Before they serve the drink, they light a piece of cherry wood and capture the smoke in a glass – covering the drink, which traps the smoke. After a few moments, they release the top cup, and serve the drink (Video Here). From the second you put that cup to your nose, you get the smell of that sweet cherry wood smoke. The taste, is fucking superb! I have had Old Fashions all over New York City, including Brooklyn Bars that specialize in the art form – i.e. Rye in Williamsburg, and Forty Four definitely has THE BEST OLD FASHION in all of New York. If you feel you have something better, please let me know. Until then, I will be getting some second-hand smoke from my Bulleit Bourbon.

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Laphroaig 10: The Smoky Single Malt

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It is currently  19 Degrees in New York City, and dropping down to 10 degrees around 10:00PM. Cold weather means no happy hour, straight back to apartment for binge watching Netflix and binge drinking Single Malts. Over the past few years I have been drinking some peaty scotches/whiskeys. The best, and most reasonably priced, is by far Laphroaig 10.  The minute a glass is poured you can see most people’s reaction to the strong smoky scent – kind of like huffing a camp fire. Definitely keeps you warm and makes you feel that smoke – with some tastes of seaweed. I either drink neat, or with one or two cubes which helps open up the flavor.

It is definitely an acquired taste, and you will either hate it or love it – so keep that in mind before buying a bottle.

In regards to a similar bottle, you could pick up a little older of a bottle and get Lagavulin 16 – but it will run you an extra $30, for a very similar taste. Both are made in Islay, and are made next door to each other – so save the money and go with Laphroaig 10.

NY WHISKEY: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

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Hudson Whiskey, made by Tuthilltown Spirits, is the first distillery to produce whiskey in New York (legally) since Prohibition Ended. Furthermore, their Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey was the first bourbon to be made in New York. So, being a native New Yorker (who lives no where near Gardiner, NY) I felt it was my responsibility to try their products – Drink Local. Over the past few years, I have been seeing their bottles at pretty much every bar in Manhattan – kind of looks like an shorty stumpy Absolute Bottle (but with better stuff filling it).

Each bottle comes with the Year, Batch and Bottle written down on the back – Mine Year 12 Batch 15 Bottle 2500. Another fun fact on the back of the bottle, instead of being made with the bare minimum of 51% corn (to be considered bourbon by definition) they use 100%. Also, due to their usage of 3 Gallon Barrels – it really gives the bourbon a nice oak taste/smell. Along with that oak scent, you pick up some vanilla as well  – but no overbearing. Drank it so far on the rocks, and it goes down smooth with sweet upfront taste – and for the price, I would pick up another bottle.

**In the picture you will notice my Bluegrass Barrel my fiancé ordered me a few months ago. Possibly one of the best gifts ever, check them out and get one for your self.

***Also, you may note in the picture a vinyl of Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z — if you do not own that album, you should feel like less of a man.